most of the text was written during
autumn 2000, updates/news/links are at the end
me @ the C64 Scene Database
computers and me
Perhaps I used to be something of a nerd, knowing everything (or atleast pretending I did); hack/phreak, trading, cracking, etc. Spending my early- and mid-teens in front of a computer. I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen… Then my life moved on, or rather, changed. I made a break from the scene, sometimes I thought I had quitted. Nowadays computers are nothing more than a tool in my life. I usually don't use them more than I have to, with one exception. Almost four years later I started slowly again, with new intentions. The reason is simple: if one can fall in love in a machine, c64 is the thing.
In the early 1980's a “home computer” named Commodore Vic 64 was born. This was a long time before the same company owned almost everything and it all was called PC. Instead computers were used (and produced) by sleepy hippies. The c64 became a huge success amongst the general public, whom at the time was almost entirely computer-less. Games were released by big labels into the mid-90's - more than ten years after the release of the actual computer. No upgrading was needed, instead the computer was, and is, used to the utmost. New barriers are broken all the time by clever programmers, instead of profiteers demanding new computers and upgrading.
The c64 has less than 1MHz, 64 kb (kilobyte) of ram, no hard drive and
5 ¼ floppy disks. It is equipped with a sid-chip, which creates clean electronic
sounds, no samples needed. Everyone who ever had contact with a c64 can remember
the beautiful music in his or her favourite games.
Since the very dawn of the c64 there has been a subculture surrounding it. Cracking (breaking the copy-protection) and spreading games and software to the anger of the companies owning the copyright. The subculture is usually referred to (by people involved in it) as “the scene”. The scene is however far from something strictly involved with illegal activities. When the cracking-scene had been going on for a while demo-groups emerged. A demo is, in short, a program that shows different kinds of creativity: effects, graphics and music by the people who are a part of the group behind the demo. These demos are spread by traders that put them on the internet or bbs'. The c64-scene also have a great history of swapping, which is trading using normal (snail-)mail: putting diskettes into envelopes with the latest wares and sending it off to your contacts, all over the world.
To unite the scene there are different disk-magazines, which are writing about the news and gossip and often work as forums. These electronic magazines publish interviews with sceners and they also spread vote-sheet on which one can vote for favourite demo-group, cracking-group, coder (the name for programmers active on the scene), electronic musician (on the c64 scene), graphician, swapper, disk-magazine, etc. The charts are then published in the magazines. In many disk-magazines a list was published with the recent first-released cracks from the different cracking groups, making them compete in getting a quality version of a cracked game out first.
me and the
I bought my c64 from someone at school in the very beginning of the 90's. I didn't get it with a diskette-station, but a tape-station (yes, cassette-tapes). Everyone who has had a c64 knows what I mean; long and boring loading-times with tapes that rarely work. I got hundreds of games, turboloader-games. Strange intros with odd messages like “cracked by Mr.Z” will easily affect the mind of a young boy, which it of course did.
For several years did I live with those odd turboloader-intros and demos. I found addresses from time to time, but no one ever replied. With sorrow I started to believe the scene was long dead. After all, the computer was almost as old as me. When I bought a diskette-station it started to change though. I got an answer from a danish ex-scener with the alias The Flying Shark. For the first time I got an actual notion of (what had been) the scene. He wrote briefly about what he had been doing, but said that he no longer was active and that he thought the scene was inactive. The Flying Shark couldn't had been more wrong.
Some months later I got contact with Roger Ferm whose address I had found on one of the diskettes I got with my diskette-drive. He was just about to get active again and helped me into the scene. I received new wares (programs produced/cracked by sceners) and I contacted more active people whose addresses I found in the disk-magazines. For a short while I called myself Shark (of course inspired by The Flying Shark), but as other (earlier “elite”-sceners) had used that alias I soon changed to Macx. When entering the scene I formed a group called Ambush of which I was the only member for a while. Ambush released a demo, coded by Zakk/Ambush (alias/group), it later turned into a game-label and it is currently sleeping.
An extremely active time as a scener was in front of me. I spent several hours every day in front of my c64. Getting more and more contacts meant more and more disks to copy, but of course also a lot of interesting wares and becoming more renowned - which was shown in the charts of the disk-magazines. When I reached the top 5 and top 3 of world's swapper other groups got interest in me joining their crew. I joined Equinoxe for a while, and was about to run the magazine Shout! together with wARp, but I soon signed up with the Australian-based Onslaught instead. Vengeance/Onslaught was one of my first contacts and he was also one of the formers of the group. Vengeance, who is a long time scener, is the editor of a well-known disk-magazine called Vandalism News. It has been released for many years and it was great to become part of it's staff.
This was the peak of my scene-activity. The scene took the most of my life, which meant that I spent less attention in school. I was a “mega-swapper”, with well over 200 contacts. Every day did I send out diskettes in envelopes to friends all over the world. It was an odd feeling, and I have hard to believe that anyone who has not been a part of the scene could understand the sense of community it gives. It was a whole different world, which the people at school didn't not know about. Of course I shouldn't only glorify the scene, it has it's battles and hierarchies, especially for me as I was very young and a newbie at the time. The majority of the sceners had been active for quite a while (in comparison to me) and there came I, showing a great effort. But overall it is great, and lots of good friends. It also gave pportunities that others didn't have, partly as the internet wasn't what it is today.
Soon came a step which I do not really know why I took. One of my Hungarian friends, Mr.Wax, who was the leader of Chromance asked me to join, and I did, even though I really liked my time in Onslaught. But Chromance, just as Onslaught, was an “elite”-group and I came to like being in that group just as much as in the [O].
During this period I also wrote in Driven, which was an American disk-magazine. Elwix, who was the main-editor was a great friend, whom I kept in contact with mainly via the internet, which I started to use more and more. Driven was a great forum for the PAL and the NTSC-scenes to meet. PAL is the European/Australian type of television and NTSC the American. The formats differ a bit and everything made on a PAL-machine does not work on the NTSC-one. But with Driven the scenes could meet and a lot more of the great demos got NTSC-fixed.
The scene arranges demo-parties, which is where people come together to share knowledge, copy wares and release demos. The demos are a part of the demo-competition that is one of the main parts of the demo-party. One of the biggest ones is The Party, which is arranged annually in Denmark. On one of them, winter '96 I believe, I teamed up with NoName which is a Denmark-based demo-group.
I was now Macx/Chromance/NoName (Ambush, which had always been in the background now turned into a game-label and began working on some interesting projects), but I started to lose the interest. I didn't want to lose any of my friends, and neither did I want to spend the amount of time that I was doing anymore. It all became an impossible task. My swapping became slower and other parts of my life started to become active, outside of the scene. In mid-1997 I sent out for the last time for a long time. I was tired of the scene and I had other things to do.
Surrounding other computers (as there actually used to be a bunch of totally different platforms) there are/were other scenes, which more or less has contact with each other. Another computer released by Commodore a lot later than the c64 was the amiga. The first one (the amiga 500) came in 1987, I think. Five years on, or so, an amiga 600 and 1200 was released. During a short period of my scene-life I owned an amiga 600. I then (probably around 1995-96) became a member of an interesting group called Keso. I traded a bit and did some animating for some peculiar demo. Though I no longer have an amiga I will remain LiSeBErG af Keso ‘til I die.
Years had passed and the scene was only something I spent a
thought on from time to time. Now I did all sorts of other things; school,
political activism, philosophy and loving. It took a while, but after a year or
so of inactivity I actually plugged out my beloved c64 and removed it from my
desk. It never left my room though. My piles of disks always reminded me about
my great history.
An odd day when I probably was downloading my mail from some political discussion-group I joined the internet relay chat (irc)-channel #c-64. I knew it from my active days, as it was an early forum for the c64-scene on the internet. I found some old friends and we started talking about the scene nowadays and what had been going on. Some seemed happy to see me again and I got some motivation to explore how the scene had developed on the internet. Hours of browsing pages whilst chatting with old contacts and picking up the latest gossip resulted in me downloading a sidplayer to my PC and an enormous collection of sid-tunes. It was euphoria I felt when I heard my favourite sounds again. Still I did nothing more, I sometimes read the news at c64.org and sometimes I even joined #c-64 on the irc, but that was it.
A seed of emotions was growing though, and just before I left
for London in autumn 2000 I took myself the time to let the spirits out.
Taper/Triad sent me some new wares and I composed a long note about feelings and
desires, which I snail-mailed out to some of my old swapping-friends.
When I made it back to Sweden I hadn't gotten many replies. Some had emailed and told me their reasons, others probably had quitted swapping. Another things which dawned on me was that I might not have been too clear with what I meant with that sending, just before leaving my home-address. At the moment I don't reckon much about my swapping-career. I will be slow with my sendings, but I probably will continue somehow. As my c64 is at my parents' I won’t be able to be fast anyway.
At the later part of February '01 I went to my first scene meeting in years. I drew (pixeled) a picture and a friend of mine coded a picture-viewer, music-player and a scrolltext. I used some old music by Cane and there I had an old-school demo. The scrolltext (something very typical for c64-demos, at least in the past; a text which scrolls the screen, usually in a line from right to left) was of course, as the demo was named c64love, about a lot of c64 emotions and and the computer of my life.
The party, “A Commodore 64 Miniparty/Megameeting for those
who know, knew or just wish they did. Man and machine, computers with soul,
there is no end to it” (from the invitation page), was called Floppy 2001 –
Lowtech Data Future and some groups showed great effort in really nice demos.
I went on the train with friends in Wrath Designs whose demo came second. My
small one-pager came sixth. The winner in the demo competition was Triad (not
to be forgotten: Spiderboys – the Keso c64-division, or something, also had
an entry by Liseberg and Sverker, a really nice piece, which came last :-).
At the meeting I met a lot of old friends and it was nice to
be a part of a scene still doing stuff. All these old computers and a blue big-screen,
it was great to see. There will probably be more graphics from me in the future;
I might even learn how to do sid-music. Perhaps more parts of c64love, who knows.
A quota from the beginning of my scrolltext in the demo: “scrolling texts, sids
and bulletin boards – don't you ever give the game away”.
I teamed up with Onslaught once again and have been working
bits and pieces on c64love2. I reckon I will do some writing for Vandalism News
(next issue is #40). Because of really cheap international pre-paid phonecards
and three-way-phones conferences can be arranged easily. Boards (bbs') still
up are: The Bass Planet 1-609-587-4495, The Studio +46-159-31991 and DeadZone
I teamed up with Onslaught once again and have been working bits and pieces on c64love2. I reckon I will do some writing for Vandalism News (next issue is #40). Because of really cheap international pre-paid phonecards and three-way-phones conferences can be arranged easily. Boards (bbs') still up are: The Bass Planet 1-609-587-4495, The Studio +46-159-31991 and DeadZone 1-215-744-5885.
Last month, at the floppy party, c64love2 was released. It was an awesome party with great people and quite a few nice demos was released. Other than that I´ve been trying to put something together for Vandalism News #40 which should be seeing daylight soon. And today (the 23rd) I started on something that may turn out to be c64love3.
The BBS Antidote (Triad and Onslaught HQ) is online again since a couple of months. It is not online for calling though, but for telnetting. Today (1st) I went online for the first time in ages. Neat. Last summer I went to LCP and the partyreport was published in the 40th edition of Vandalism News. The Floppy-party is just in just a few weeks!
Floppy 2004 is over and as it was a kicker we're all looking
forward to LCP this summer. The german beerdrinker Slator will always be remembered
for his impressive job linking and cracking the SWA-demo, just before the compodeadline
I brought my camera this time, click to download the photos.
The warmth of the summer is kicking in just in time for the long carride to LCP in the old 1986 vw passat without A/C. Another fine job by Frantic organizing the lot. And a great democompo this year with Fairlight, Triad and Afrika (!!) in the top three. I released walking man, a new scrolltext demo. And the photos I took are available here. A partyreport was published in Vandalism News #42.
In October I met up with Jazzcat and Vengeance in Amsterdam in order to get to X2004 in Hengelo. Living in Australia this was to be their first demoparty ever, despite far more than a decade in the scene. It sure was nice to finally meet them fellow Onslaughters in real life. At the party we released the 42nd edition of Vandalism News and I also released a demo entitled autumn clouds. Click here for the photographs I shot.
I have been living up in Umeå and have studied a lot of medicin, but that has not stopped my activities entirely. A couple of issues of the reknowned disk-magazine has been released, and my texts are readable from here. I went to Floppy and LCP and released a few pictures. Here are some photos from the latter party. Remember to pay Antidote and The Hidden a visit for some C/G bonanza!
Some months ago I moved back south to continue my medical studies in the legendary c64 scenetown of Odense in Denmark. Last week #48 of Vandalism News was released, my parts readable here, and some days before that Jazzcat released another issue of his project Recollection with some really decent reading. In mid-October I went to X'2006 in Holland together with some friends, the partyreport was published in issue 48 and here are some photos.
click to get c64love,
c64love2 , autumn clouds
(the demos are preferably indulged on a real machine, but for the unlucky souls
an emulator is available here). Here
is a short introduction of how to watch demos on a pc.
click to get c64love, c64love2, walking man
, autumn clouds (the demos are preferably indulged on a real machine, but for the unlucky souls an emulator is available here). Here is a short introduction of how to watch demos on a pc.
& Vandalism News
[CSDb] (searchtips: macx, triad, booze, fairlight, wrath, onslaught, camelot, driven, focus, crest ..)
Copyright Does Not Exist
(the link above is to the book by KingFisher/Triad a.k.a Linus Walleij, it is a must-read primer for anyone interested or anyone who wants to get the history behind concepts like information society, hacking, internet, electronic music, science-fiction, artificial intelligence, etc. also available in swedish)
c64 emulator (VICE)